From the Frostheart series , Vol. 2

Continuing his search for his parents, young Song Weaver Ash winds up at the mighty Stronghold of Aurora, where resistance to the Leviathan threat grows.

Trekking across the wilds of the Snow Sea with the Pathfinder crew aboard the Frostheart, led by the ever spirited Capt. Nuk, Ash arrives at Aurora in pursuit of further clues that will aid him in his quest. However, whispers of increasing Leviathan attacks against Pathfinder sleighs permeate the majestic settlement. The furor proves large enough to incite a plan to utilize monstrous weapons discovered in the ruins of the World Before. Led by Stormbreaker, a renowned, grizzled Pathfinder captain, the fleet transforms practically overnight into an armada against the Leviathans, and now Song Weavers like Ash—who are instrumental in using these powerful anti-Leviathan weapons—are being rounded up and forcibly enlisted. As tension mounts in Aurora between Song Weavers and Strongholders, Ash, Lunah, Tobu, and the rest of the Frostheart crew flee, embarking once again across the great wilds to find Solstice, the fabled Song Weaver Stronghold. As always, ahead lies an even greater terror of unimaginable scale. Overflowing with winsome characters, even more cool worldbuilding, and roguish villains, Book 2 of the Frostheart series builds impressively upon the foundation set by its predecessor. Littler strikes a splendid balance between unexpected twists and heartfelt moments, bolstered by confident writing and artwork. This sequel ends where it begins: with a promise of even greater adventure.

Magically marvelous. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-451-48137-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2021

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Dizzyingly silly.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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